Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear?
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?
I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face,
Would not hearken to His calls,
grieved Him by a thousand falls.
Though 1 Corinthians 13 is largely regarded as a cozy part of the Bible, a closer look reveals that it is actually deeply challenging. These “feel-good” verses confront us, humble us, and begin to show us that the things we think matter most are not what matter most to God.
The church in Corinth faced circumstances from within that threatened its existence. So, in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul showed the church “a still more excellent way” (1 Cor. 12:31)—that is, the way of agapē, the kind of love that is rooted in the very character of God and revealed in the life of Jesus Christ. Paul needed to help the Corinthians understand that it is only by growing in Christlike love that we can grow in our Christian maturity and effectively handle such difficult situations.Continue reading …
Many have described Christ’s words in Mark 9:49–50 as being among the New Testament’s most challenging passages. They read,
Continue reading …
Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.
James 1:22–25 “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
Commentary from the sermon “Don't Kid Yourselves” by Alistair Begg:
“What James is pointing out is simply this: that if the Bible is going to be effective in our lives, it must not only be listened to but also received and acted upon. Not simply listened to but received and acted upon. James has urged everyone to make sure that they’re ‘quick to listen,’ in verse 19, but he now says, ‘But make sure that you are not merely listening.’
Commentary from the sermon “Why Bother with the Bible? — Part One” by Alistair Begg:
“What is the Bible? …
“First of all, the Bible is a library; it is a collection of books. It is one book, but it is one book encompassing sixty-six other books. Anybody who takes a Bible and opens it up will notice that it is apparently broken into two disproportionate pieces. There is a part which in the table of contents is called the Old Testament, which goes from Genesis to Malachi, and then there is the New Testament, which goes from Matthew through to Revelation. The Old Testament is made up of the books of the Prophets, and of the Law, and of the Psalms. …In the New Testament, we have the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John; and then we have the Acts of the Apostles, the minute book of the early church, or its history book; then we have the Letters, written by different individuals to different gatherings of God’s people; and then we have the book of Revelation … the insight into a realm yet experienced that was granted to the apostle John. …
First Corinthians 13 is largely regarded as a cozy part of the Bible. It’s prone to be read at weddings; it shows up on stationery, keychains, and home decor; and its detractors are few, even in secular society. This is hardly a surprise, since it is poetic, it is beautiful, and it meditates on a word that nearly anyone can get behind: love.Continue reading …
Topics: Hymns and Worship
At the beginning of Acts 3, at the gate of the Jerusalem temple, the apostles Peter and John encounter a disabled man who thinks he needs one thing: money. If he doesn’t have any money, he thinks, he can’t eat—and if he can’t eat, then he’ll be dead. So he needs money.Continue reading …
First Samuel 5is a difficult chapter—a crystal-clear example of divine judgment and intervention. When we study it and consider the heavy hand of God, we have to remember that we’re dealing with events that happened a long time ago, around 1100 BC, and with what’s clearly an unrepeatable incident. It’s important that we approach passages like this one in light of the rest of the Bible. Scripture interprets Scripture in such a way that where one passage may not be as accessible as another, other portions enable us to approach those difficult texts properly.Continue reading …
For all the challenges we face in life, nothing is more difficult than losing someone we love. And when the loss is unexpected or tragic, our faith can surely be put to the test. In Seasons of Sorrow: The Pain of Loss and the Comfort of God, pastor and Christian blogger Tim Challies tells a story of unthinkable loss— the sudden death of his twenty-year-old son—and how he kept the Gospel in view as he grieved.Continue reading …
Topics: Monthly Resources
There is an old adage that goes, “People buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like.” That is a sadly accurate summary of how the world tends to look at money. As Christians, however, we recognize that our money has a higher purpose.Continue reading …
As I drove to my study last week, a thought popped into my head. You will not be surprised when I tell you that it was a line from one of William Cowper’s lesser-known hymns: “Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings.” I wonder, do you find that happening from time to time when you are part of a worshiping congregation? Familiar words suddenly are suffused with heavenly light, as if Jesus the worship leader drew near to say, “These words are most wonderfully true and relevant to you.” I cherish such moments when we get a tiny glimpse of what it will be to join with that great multitude in declaring, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”Continue reading …
Topics: Letters From Alistair Begg